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Technical Blog

09/10/2010 - Less is more! Running Windows XP in VMWare Server

A while back, I lost my Windows XP laptop due to hardware failure.  Luckily, just before the machine finally failed, I managed to create a Physical to Virtual image using the excellent (and free) VMWare Converter.  The laptop had never been fast, so I configured the VMWare virtual machine with 2 CPUs and 1.5Gb RAM, hoping this would give the laptop a new lease of life.  However, when I ran the virtual machine, performance was absolutely dreadful!  The solution is to scale back the hardware configuration to 1 CPU and 1 Gb of RAM in VMWare.  The performance was restored to even better than before! Thanks to for solving this.   

01/10/2010 - Windows 7 System Restore and deleted user accounts

Have you accidentally deleted a Windows user account and you need to get it back again?  I recently I managed to un-join my Windows 7 Laptop from a Windows domain and was unable to rejoin the domain. On rebooting, my domain account on the computer was completely inaccessible. It appeared that I had lost access to all files/folders and settings in my domain account profile in Windows 7.  However, there is a simple fix; if you can login as administrator then run a Windows 7 System Restore, this restores the entire system to a point before the domain was un-joined, including user accounts. The inaccessible user account should then re-appear!

Thanks to for pointing me in the right direction.

17/09/2010 - Windows XP Home - Microsoft Update has caused Timeout Problems in Remote Desktop Connection

Microsoft's most recent Windows update appears to have broken Remote Desktop Connection on Windows XP Home (and maybe other operating systems).  The symptom is that RDC seems to timeout after 5 minutes of inactivity and the connection is lost.  However there is a simple fix. Copy and paste the following code into notepad and save it as a .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Terminal Services]

Then double click the reg file to copy the information into the registry.  Then reboot your computer and the problem should be fixed (worked for me).

 24/11/2008 - Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Reporting - auto population of Server List

Are you in an organisation where the Servers that you are monitoring frequently change?  If you need to run individual generic (e.g. Performance Detail) reports on all servers for a particular rule this creates a problem; you need to reconfigure the reports each time there is a change to include the updated server details.

However, there is a solution to this.  This is as follows:

  1. Open you default Reporting Services website and navigate to the Operations Manager Data Warehouse Reports;
  2. Click on the Show Details button on the top right hand corner;
  3. Click the edit button against the report you want to change;
  4. Click the Edit Button on the Report Definition section and save the .rdl file;
  5. Copy the Operations Manager Chart Controls to Visual Studio (see Eugene Bykov's blog for more details;
  6. Start Visual Studio and create a new Reporting Services project;
  7. Create a data source to the OperationsManagerDW database;
  8. import the exported rdl file to your Visual Studio Project;
  9. Modify your data sources so that they point to the newly created data source;
  10. Create a new datasource called ObjectDiscovery which queries the Operations Manager ManagedEntity table according to the entities you wish to discover;
  11. In the Report Design pane, right click the black blob in the left corner of the Report Design and select Parameters;
  12. Change the ObjectList parameter so that the default value is set to your datasource, ObjectDiscovery;
  13. Save the report and publish to ReportingServices;
  14. The Report should now automatically discover the correct servers before running!

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07/11/2008 - Microsoft Virtual Server startup problem - new problem

Well, I thought it was fixed, but no.  After the reboot of the machine for the first time after the registry fixed, Windows appears to change the registry key of the vmm service by adding a new key: 

Deleteflag - value=1

It also marks the Start key=4 (disabled)

Then, the next time that Windows is rebooted, the vmm service (being marked for deletion) is deleted and Virtual Server fails to start again.

The solution is to delete the Deleteflag registry key from the vmm service and set the Start flag to 3 (Manual)

Great - however, as soon as you reboot Windows with the service working - Windows changes the settings back again. So you need to change these settings back every time you startup Windows.

I am working on a VB application to do this automatically on Windows startup

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05/11/2008 - Microsoft Virtual Server startup problem - fixed

There appears to be a bug with some installations of Microsoft Virtual Server - particularly with Windows XP.  When you reboot after installation, the Virtual Server service will not start becuase a dependency on the VMM service has been marked for deletion or removed.

The solution is as follows:

1) Take a copy of the registry keys underneath hkey_local_machine\system\services; Virtual Server, vmm and vmh from a working copy of Virtual Server on another machine (if you install VS on Windows Server 2003 - it normally works);

2) Delete the existing registry keys underneath hkey_local_machine\system\services; Virtual Server, vmm and vmh;

3) Recreate the registry keys from the working machine that you have saved;

4) Reboot, and all should be well.

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07/07/2012 - VMWare Server and Oracle VirtualBox - problem with network adaptors

I recently installed Oracle VirtualBox in order to test the Beta of Windows 8.  There is a problem running VMWare Server and Oracle VirtualBox on the same machine.  Installing Oracle VirtualBox installs a new network adaptor on the computer called "VirtualBox Host Only Network".  This adaptor prevents the VMWare network adaptors working properly and once you start your VMWare virtual machines you may find that they have no network access.

The solution is to disable the "VirtualBox Host Only Network" adaptor.  The VMWare network adaptors then start working again.


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